The popular Country Place Restaurant on Shallowford Road will be closing, owner Mike Trussell confirmed Friday.
Mr. Trussell, who has been in the restaurant business for 37 years, said he sold the valuable property several months ago. It is located just across from the Waterside development where a $40 million Embassy Suites is slated to open soon.
Mr. Trussell said the new owner will likely not keep the restaurant, but instead build a hotel at the site.
A sale of the Country Place Restaurant fixtures and equipment by Gravitt Auction is set for May 2.
Meanwhile, groups like the Brainerd Kiwanis Club and the Hamilton Place Rotary Club are looking for a new meeting place.
Mr. Trussell's father, B.T. Trussell started the first Country Place Restaurant on Dayton Boulevard in 1976. At one time there were also locations in Dayton, East Ridge and Highway 58. Terry and Danny Trussell, brothers of Mike, were involved in the operation at one time.
The current location opened Jan. 6, 1990. Mr. Trussell said some of the same staff members are still with the restaurant. In fact, some date back to the earliest Country Place.
He told the restaurant employees on Sunday. "We had a boo-hoo session," he said.
Mr. Trussell noted that he was diagnosed with cancer six years ago and had a return bout of it last April. He said the sales offer for the property "was a godsend," though he said he will miss his customers and staff.
He noted that the restaurant business "is totally different now. There are probably 50 restaurants within a three-mile radius of here."
But he said business at the Country Place had actually improved the last couple of years. He went from two shifts to one only because of his health, he said. That cut the employee number from around 50 to 30.
Mr. Trussell said, after that long in the business, "you start thinking about what else you might do. Here it's seven days a week, 16 hours a day. You're always thinking about it."